Just like that…

woman,stare,wonder,ponder,

“What was, is;
What might have been, might be.
What’s kept. What’s lost. A snap decision.”

Adrienne Rich, from Later Poems Selected And New


Poem Source: Soaked In Soul. Photograph: “Enigma”; Kenny Sweeney

Over-The-Top

stress-worry-gif

[...] It may be that it’s not the stress from major life events like divorce, illness and job loss trickled down to everyday life that gets you; it’s how you react to the smaller, everyday stress…The most stressed-out people have the highest risk of premature death, according to one study that followed 1,293 men for years…People who always perceived their daily life to be over-the-top stressful were three times more likely to die over the period of study than people who rolled with the punches and didn’t find daily life very stressful

Some people get frantic sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, worried about being late or not being able to do what they hoped in a timely manner. Others simply take the time to sit back, listen to music and appreciate the break as some quiet time. Now, getting upset in traffic once is no big deal. But if things like that happen all the time and the response is always getting really upset, then the harmful effects of stress can become toxic….

…If you are one of those chronically upset worriers, Dr. Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University, has a prescription for you…Read about his three magic pills here:

~ NPR – Patti Neighmond: Best To Not Sweat The Small Stuff, Because It Could Kill You


Notes: Thank you Lori for the NPR article. This hit the mark.  Image Source: allpeoplecanfly

 

Stop. And…

beginning-purpose-meaning


Source: RudyOldeSchulte

Sunday Morning: Jonny + Xena. Moved.


There’s not much to say here except WATCH.

Thank you Julie.

Home from my walk, shoes off, at peace.

read,still,quiet,morning
The weight of my old dog, Hattie –
thirty five pounds of knocking bones, sighs, tremors and dreams –
just isn’t enough to hold a patch of sun in its place, at least for very long.
While she shakes in her sleep,
its slips from beneath her and inches away,
taking the morning with it –
the music from the radio,
the tea from my cup,
the drowsy yellow hours –
picking up dust and
dog hair as it goes.

~ Ted Kooser. December 14. Home from my walk, shoes off, at peace.

[Read more...]

At six in the morning, my circle of light

stars,night,sky,morning

Walking by flashlight
at six in the morning,
my circle of light on the gravel
swinging side by side,
coyote, racoon, field mouse, sparrow,
each watching from darkness
this man with the moon on a leash.

~ Ted Kooser. November 18. Cloudy, dark and windy.

[Read more...]

5:00 p.m. Bell: Fly Home!

Everyones-Object-work-for-a-Bird


Napoleon Dynamite Source – Chicagonow

T.G.I.F.: 1:55 min Dance to your Morning Commute


Smart, the company behind the original smart car, has devised a clever way to help pedestrians wait for the walk signal and keep the streets safer — a dancing traffic light. By projecting real movements from people nearby, the dancing traffic light entertains people at the intersection until it’s a safe time to cross the street. The company built the signal at an intersection in Lisbon, Portugal, earlier this summer. (Source: Mashable)

Can you keep your feet still?


Source: Weighty Matters

 

Shifting their weight from side to side

bare-trees-dusk-morning

At first light,
The bare trees sway,
but not together.
Shifting their weight from side to side,
they are like a crowd
that has waited all night for a gate to open.

~ Ted Kooser. February 13. Breezy and pleasant.

[Read more...]

(Truth) The junkie’s temporary relief at the fleeting fix

lab-rat

For most of my adult life, I have read, like E. I. Lonoff in Roth’s The Ghost Writer, primarily at night: a hundred or so pages every evening once Rae and the kids have gone to bed. These days, after spending hours on the computer, I pick up a book and read a paragraph; then my mind wanders and I check my e-mail, drift onto the Internet, pace the house before returning to the page. Or I want to do these things but don’t, force myself to remain still, to follow what I’m reading until I give myself over to the flow. What I’m struggling with is the encroachment of the buzz, the sense that there is something out there that merits my attention, when in fact it’s mostly just a series of disconnected riffs, quick takes and fragments, that add up to the anxiety of the age. How did this happen? Perhaps it’s easier to pinpoint when. Certainly, it began after the fall of 2006, when I first got high-speed Internet, which I had previously resisted because I understood my tendency to lose myself in the instant gratifications of the information stream. [...] It all felt so immensely freighted that to look back now is to recall little more than the frantic blur of stimulation, the lab rat’s manipulated jolt at pressing the proper button, the junkie’s temporary relief at the fleeting fix.

~ David L. Ulin. The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time.


Related David L. Ulin Post: We immerse, slow down. Photo credit: dailymail.co.uk

Lightly child, lightly

Steve-goad


Credits:

  • Artist: Steve Goad – Descension
  • Other Lightly Child, Lightly posts: 1) Lightly child, lightly, 2) Lightly Child. Lightly, 3) Lightly Child, Lightly.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

 

Still as fence posts they wait

fenceposts

In fair weather,
the shy past keeps its distance.
Old loves, old regrets, old humiliations
look on from afar.
They stand back under the trees.
No one would think
to look for them there.

But in the fog they come closer.
You can feel them there
by the road as you slowly walk past.
Still as fence posts they wait,
dark and reproachful,
each stepping forward in turn.

~ Ted Kooser. February 16. An early morning fog.

[Read more...]

How do you make it lie down?

australian-lizard-blue-tongue

…I’ve never seen anything as strong or as stubborn,” he says.
And I think,
how do you tame a wild tongue,
train it to be quiet,
how do you bridle it and saddle it?
How do you make it lie down?

~ Gloria Anzaldua, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue“, From Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza


Credits: Photograph of Australian Blue Tongue Lizard: Tammy Puntti. Poem Source: The Chateau of My Heart

Big Day? Be Brave.

funny-office-work-leadership-1funny-office-work-leadership


Source: peacansandies

How was your day?

charlie-brown-sigh-long-day


Source: Stepsonmysunlitfloor

Don’t eye the basket of bread; just take it off the table

bread-basket-food

Pamela Druckerman interviews Walter Mischel, a professor of psychology at Columbia, in Learning How to Exert Self-Control:

…Self-control can be taught. Grown-ups can use it to tackle the burning issues of modern middle-class life: how to go to bed earlier, not check email obsessively, stop yelling at our children and spouses, and eat less bread. Poor kids need self-control skills if they’re going to catch up at school.

…Adults can use similar methods of distraction and distancing, he says. Don’t eye the basket of bread; just take it off the table. In moments of emotional distress, imagine that you’re viewing yourself from outside, or consider what someone else would do in your place. When a waiter offers chocolate mousse, imagine that a cockroach has just crawled across it. “If you change how you think about it, its impact on what you feel and do changes,” Mr. Mischel writes.

…He explains that there are two warring parts of the brain: a hot part demanding immediate gratification (the limbic system), and a cool, goal-oriented part (the prefrontal cortex). The secret of self-control, he says, is to train the prefrontal cortex to kick in first.

…Self-control alone doesn’t guarantee success. People also need a “burning goal” that gives them a reason to activate these skills

Read the rest of Druckerman’s column here: Learning How to Exert Self-Control

Find Mischel’s new book at Amazon here: The Marshmellow Test: Mastering Self-Control.


Image Source: Foodspotting

Hushed and heavy

winter-mountains-morning-sunrise

…soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed
and heavy.

~ Sara Teasdale, from September Midnight

 


Credits: Photograph – The North Wind. Poem: Lit Verve. Sara Teasdale Bio: Poetry Foundation

I can’t do anything / Contradictions / Blown by the wind

cow-calf-mother

8:06 p.m. on Friday evening.
I’m getting off the train returning home from a long work day in Manhattan.
T.G.I.F.
Susan and Zeke greet me at the train station for our walk home.
Zeke’s tail is wagging wildly, his head on a swivel searching for a present to bring to Dad.

“Eric had a bad day.”

I’m still winded from walking up the stairs from the platform.
The weight of the work week lifts, and anxiety flushes in.
My pulse starts to race. I’m gulping for air.
Bile rolls up my empty stomach and sits gnawing in my throat.

No. Please, no. Not my Son.

“He went to a bull fight with his friends.”

Panic begins to ease. Ms. Drama’s overstatements, or my fatigue misinterpreting degree of “bad day”?

“They left before half. He said there was one bullfighter. The matador has six ‘assistants’, 2 mounted on horseback, three flagmen and a sword servant. Six men looking to kill a single bull. He said it was barbaric. Sickening. He had to get out of the stadium.” [Read more...]

Turkey / / 55 sec to Jump


I am alive and walking

sun-morning-walk-light

How important it must be to someone
that I am alive and walking,
and that I have written these poems.
This morning the sun stood right at the end of the road
and waited for me.”

~ Ted Kooser. March 20, The vernal equinox. [Read more...]

Saturday Morning: We immerse, slow down

read-morning-coffee-saturday

“… to read, we need a certain kind of silence, an ability to filter out the noise. That seems increasingly elusive in our overnetworked society, where every buzz and rumor is instantly blogged and tweeted, and it is not contemplation we desire but an odd sort of distraction, distraction masquerading as being in the know. In such a landscape, knowledge can’t help but fall prey to illusion, albeit an illusion that is deeply seductive, with its promise that speed can lead us to more illumination, that it is more important to react than to think deeply, that something must be attached to every bit of time. Here, we have my reading problem in a nutshell, for books insist we take the opposite position, that we immerse, slow down.”

- David L. Ulin, The Lost Art of Reading


Notes: Quote – Litverve. Photograph: Amoris-Causa

 

SMWI*: Start me up!

mick-jagger-gifMick-Jagger-gif-2

mick-jagger-gif-3exercise,fitness,stretch,dance,fit,diet

Mick-Jagger-gif-4dance,exercise,fitness,stretch


SMWI*= Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: Moneygoround

Lucky I am to go off to my cancer appointment

bluebird

I saw the season’s first bluebird this morning,
one month ahead of its scheduled arrival.
Lucky I am to go off to my cancer appointment
having been given a bluebird, and,
for a lifetime, having been given this world.

~ Ted Kooser. March 18, Gusty and warm.


Preface of Ted Kooser’s “Winter Morning Walks: One hundred postcards to Jim Harrison“:

In the autumn of 1998, during my recovery from surgery and radiation for cancer, I began taking a two-mile walk each morning. I’d been told by my radiation oncologist to stay out of the sun for a year because of skin sensitivity, so I exercised before dawn, hiking the isolated country roads near where I live, sometimes with my wife but most often alone.

During the previous summer, depressed by my illness, preoccupied by the routines of my treatment, and feeling miserably sorry for myself, I’d all but given up on reading and writing. Then, as autumn began to fade and winter came on, my health began to improve. One morning in November, following my walk, I surprised myself by trying my hand at a poem. Soon I was writing everyday.

Several years before, my friend Jim Harrison and i Have carried on a correspondence in haiku. As a variation on this, I began pasting my morning poems on postcards and sending them to Jim, whose generosity, patience and good humor are here acknowledged. What follows is a election of one hundred of these postcards.


Notes: Ted Kooser Bio.  Photograph – 500px / Bluebird in flight by Sridatta Chegu via Giraffe in a Tree

T.G.I.F.: It’s Been A Long Week

penguin-funny-fall-gif


Source: gifak-net

What’s he thinkin’?

teddy-bear-cute-adorable


Source: Teddy Blue by Marko Mastosaari via Steps on My Sunlight Floor

Peace

September 11, 2001


Source: Madame Scherzo

Grappling hooks of light

sleep-Eunika-Rogers

I’ve been here before,
dreaming myself backwards,
among grappling hooks of light.

—Yusef Komunyakaa, from “Confluence

[Read more...]

Some days, some days…

lynx-cat-paws

…after a long day, you need to hug a big kitty.

and don’t miss a look at this fella’s paws.  Incredible… [Read more...]

Untouchable deliciousness

black and white, photography,portrait

I confess that I consider life
to be a thing of the most
untouchable deliciousness.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke


Sources: Poem – Make Believe Boutique. Portrait: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom

I was never completely where I was

crackphone_2

David Roberts: Re-boot or Die Trying. One Man’s Year of Digital Detox:

[...] There was no such thing as caught up; there was, at best, keeping up. To step away from e-mail, news feeds, texts, chats, and social media for even a moment was to allow their deposited information to accumulate like snow in the driveway, a burden that grew every second it was neglected.

I spent most of my daytime hours shoveling digital snow. The core of my job—researching, thinking, writing at greater-than-140-character length—I could accomplish only in the middle of the night, when things calmed down. I spent more and more hours working, or at least work adjacent, but got less and less done.

Meanwhile, my mind and body adapted to the pace of digital life, with its ceaseless ping ping ping of notifications and alerts. I got twitchy if I was away from my phone for more than a few seconds. I felt it vibrating in my pocket when it wasn’t there, took it with me to bed, even to the bathroom. (I got pretty good at tweeting while I peed, to my enduring discredit.)

All my in-between moments, the interstitial transitions and pauses that fill the cracks of a day, were crowded with pings. My mind was perpetually in the state that researcher and technology writer Linda Stone termed continuous partial attention. I was never completely where I was, never entirely doing what I was doing. I always had one eye on the virtual world. Every bit of conversation was a potential tweet, every sunset a potential Instagram [...]

Don’t miss the rest of the story here: Reboot or Die Trying. One Man’s Year of Digital Detox.


Image: “Crackphone” from Saltywaffle.com

Truth

feel-blessing-curse


Source: verystrongwords

 

R.I.P. Birdie

bird-sun-conure

This morning, I shared a gif of a parrot taking a shower.

I then check my emails and receive this message, the first of the day.

Good morning. I am very sorry to tell you that Birdie passed away this morning. She had been just fine until about 6 months ago when she began having occasional seizures. We are assuming she had one last night. Jessica found her at the bottom of the cage this morning and it seemed like she was hanging on for her to get home. She died shortly after Jessica picked her up. She spent most of every day on Jessica’s shoulder or inside her shirt during the winter months. Jessica is devastated. She lost her best animal friend.

In case you missed the original post on the background of Birdie and our family, you can find it here: “I Miss Birdie.”

Sad Day. Yet, what incredible joy this little creature brought to our family.

RIP Birdie.

All the variety,
all the charm,
all the beauty of life
is made up of light and shadow.

~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina


 

Running. As a Witness.

head down,tired, fatigued

R. Dass: “Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story, instead of the actor in it.

6:31 am. September 6, 2014.

76° F.  Humid.

He’s wearing black shorts, above the knee.

He has two bands on his left wrist. Both black. A Garmin GPS, tracking time and distance. A Vivo Fit, another Garmin tool, tracking his step count.  His head bobs, no, it tics, checking progress on his devices every 30-40 seconds.

His shirt is canary yellow, sleeveless. The sweat stains are darkening his shirt, spilled black ink creeping down his chest.

His running shoes are off-the-shelf new, with hyper-green florescent laces, tied with symmetrical bows on each foot.

His head is down but for the presence of oncoming traffic, when he’ll steal a look up, and offer a wave to the driver who gives him wide berth.

He’s heavy footed. Solemn. A hulking, Dutch plow horse, blinders blocking out peripheral vision. The furrows behind him, turned and plowed over and under and over again. [Read more...]

Just when you’d begun to feel you could rely on summer

beach-walk

Just when you’d begun to feel
You could rely on the summer,
That each morning would deliver
The same mourning dove singing
From his station on the phone pole,
The same smell of bacon frying
Somewhere in the neighborhood,
The same sun burning off
The coastal fog by noon,
When you could reward yourself
For a good morning’s work
With lunch at the same little seaside cafe
With its shaded deck and iced tea,
The day’s routine finally down
Like an old song with minor variations,
There comes that morning when the light
Tilts ever so slightly on its track,
A cool gust out of nowhere
Whirlwinds a litter of dead grass
Across the sidewalk, the swimsuits
Are piled on the sale table,
And the back of your hand,
Which you thought you knew,
Has begun to look like an old leaf.
Or the back of someone else’s hand.

George Bilgere, “August,” The Good Kiss (Akron, 2002)


Notes: George Bilgere Bio.  Poem Source – The Journey of Words. Image: Precious Things

7 weeks old. And hearing for the first time.

baby-hearing-1

baby-hearing-2

baby-hearing-3

baby-hearing-4

baby-hearing-5

baby-hearing-6

baby-hearing-7

Do NOT miss the video clip of this miracle: Lachlan gets a hearing aid


Image Source: sizvideos

Kneel for prayer. Why?

photography,portrait,black and white

Why must people kneel down to pray?
If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do.
I’d go out into a great big field all alone or
in the deep, deep woods and
I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky
that looks as if there was no end to its blueness.
And then I’d just feel a prayer.

— L.M. Montgomery


Lucy Maud Montgomery (1875-1942) was born in Clifton, Prince Edward Island. Montgomery, was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables. Montgomery went on to publish 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays. Most of the novels were set on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and places in the Canadian province became literary landmarks. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.

Her mother died of tuberculosis when Lucy was 21 months old. Stricken with grief over his wife’s death, Hugh John Montgomery gave custody over to Montgomery’s maternal grandparents.  She was raised by them in a strict and unforgiving manner. Montgomery’s early life was very lonely. Despite having relations nearby, much of her childhood was spent alone. Montgomery credits this time of her life, in which she created many imaginary friends and worlds to cope with her loneliness, as what developed her creative mind.


Notes: Photograph – bigdaddyk. Poem Source – The Sensual Starfish. Bio: Wiki.

Freed

woman-bliss-breathe-peace

“Maybe poems are
made of breath,
the way water, cajoled to boil, says,
This is my soul, freed.”

- Dean Young, from “Scarecrow on Fire,” in Bender: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2012)


Image Source: Black and White

Saturday Morning

dog-puppy-bliss-happy-breathe


Source: Mme Scherzo

5:00 PM Bell: Run Walter, Run


Walter, a lab, loves the sea. And he’ll stop at nothing to get there. The footage was captured on the coast of Siracusa, Italy. (Source: GrindTV)

Truth: I am a habit machine. I suffer from character sclerosis.

Six-figure advance: Vincent Deary sparked a bidding war for his book.

Carole Cadwalladr, ‘Vincent Deary: ‘Are you living the life you want to lead?’

At the age of 40 Vincent Deary jacked in his job as an NHS psychotherapist, sold his house in south London, moved to Edinburgh and locked himself in a small room for two years to write a book. Or, more accurately, to think about writing a book. He spent the first year mostly writing Post-it notes. By the fifth year, having turned 45, he finally finished it and called it How to Live

…What comes across most strongly in How to Live is just how bloody difficult it is to change. Or, as is more often the case, to handle change. Deary had a choice – to stay in London or to go – but many of those he cites in the book don’t have a choice. Change has been thrust upon them – partners leave, work dries up, people die. “There are many ways our worlds can end,” he writes in the book. “It may start as a distant rumour, a noise outside your small world, or an unexpected intrusion within it… sooner or later your current world will change, the present season will end.”

And even the perfect people of Facebook, with smiling kids and sunny skiing holidays, are not immune. “They will fall for their lover, their dog will die, they’ll have to move house, they’ll go bankrupt, they’ll die, they’ll age and if they stay the same their circumstances will change so their old responses won’t produce the same response from the environment. So even if they stay the same, that will mean change.” The problem is that we are “habit machines”. We suffer from “character sclerosis”. “Left to [our] own devices, the result will be the downhill slide of a life dictated by whatever happened last, by happenstance and habit.”

Read entire column at The Guardian


 

 

130 Seconds: August Flashback


We loved Marc Mazur’s short retrospectives on June and July.  He doesn’t disappoint with August.


 

40 sec to Greck Citrics


Everything

connect


Source: …Just Saying

Stalking Friday

funny-gif-cat-slowly-showing-window


Source: themetapicture

Choose. McEwan.

nuvo-magazine-autumn-ian-mcewan-page-image-book-1918752997

And if he had to choose between his books and his family? There’s no hesitation.

Family.
I adored having children.
Work and fatherhood have kept me sane.
The impulse to work is like a survival instinct.

~ Robert McCrum with English Novelist Ian McEwan


Don’t miss Robert McCrum’s great column on Ian McEwan in the Guardian here:

Ian McEwan: ‘I’m only 66 – my notebook is still full of ideas’

Ian McEwan, 66, is an English novelist and screenwriter.  In 2008, The Times featured him on their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.” He won the Man Booker Prize with Amsterdam (1998). In 2001, he published Atonement, which was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. (Source: Wiki)


Quote Source: The Guardian. Photo Source: Fansshare. Bio Source: Wiki

Are you ready this time?

black and white, close-up
Going too fast for myself
I missed more than I think I can remember
almost everything it seems sometimes
and yet there are chances that come back
that I did not notice when they stood
where I could have reached out and touched them
this morning the black shepherd dog
still young looking up and saying
Are you ready this time?

- W. S. Merwin, “Turning”


Credits: Photograph by Sharon Heron of German Shepherd Dog. Poem: Litverve

EXACTLY what I needed to see. PERFECT.

cool-chart-prime-person-ages


Source: People Were Asked About Their Prime Years, These Were Their Answers. themetapicture.com

Saturday Morning

saturday-morning-window-breeze

But the pleasant thing is to wake early, throw open the window, and lie reading in bed.

- Edward Fitzgerald, from a letter to W. F. Pollock, May 3, 1840


Credits: Image Source: thesensualstarfish. Quote: Just Saying

T.G.I.F.: I made it!

Puppy-adorable-jumping-cute-gif


Definition of Insanity:

Doing (watching) the same thing over and over and over again expecting a different result.


Source: thesensualstarfish

My escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant

reading-book-alone

Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.

― Paul AusterThe Brooklyn Follies ( Picador, 2006)


Credits: Image – youreyesblazeout. Quote: Journey of Words